I just finished Barack Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land. It’s a great read. And the first thing that pops into mind is the variety of responsibilities a President of a nation (or of anything in general) needs to be tasked with handling. There are so many stakeholders that Barack has to take into account.
So many multi-tasking experiences. He needs to handle his nation’s foreign policy, while battling a financial crisis in his backyard. He needs to schmooze with the political elite of Washington D.C., while also catering to the everyday working man out in the Midwest. He needs to find some much-needed balance between work and relaxation. Between Cabinet meetings and time out with the kids and family.
There are just so many stressors and responsibilities to be had when becoming a President of a nation. Let alone the President of the USA. The most powerful nation in the world. Where your everyday decision can impact millions, if not billions, of lives.
The memoir gives me a greater sense of respect for Obama and his trials and tribulations during his first year in office. It makes me realize that even he is human. That even the President of the United States (the most powerful job on planet Earth) is subject to the whims of stakeholders and citizens and everyday commoners.
As President, his job is to serve the masses. And he does that to the best of his abilities. It’s ironic. It feels like the higher up you climb up the ladder of political success, the more stakeholders you need to take into account. In a sense, you lose your sense of “personal freedom” simply because there are so many people that depend on you. And you need to make every decision, cognizant of how it will impact your constituents.
It’s not an easy job. It’s easy to say that you want to be President. But it’s a whole other beast to actually become President and play the part. There were so many battles and tests that Obama had to deal with – from the USA financial crisis to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, to the accident at Deepwater Horizon, to the European financial crisis, to costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to saving the auto industry. There were just so many things that need to be managed. Being President is certainly not an easy task. And multi-tasking is almost an unfortunate necessity.
Having said that, I believe that we all have what it takes to be President. In a sense, we are Presidents of ourselves. We manage our lives. We make decisions based on what we feel is best for ourselves. We set goals for self-improvement. When we grow up, we have stakeholders (like children, and partners, and parents, and community members) that genuinely depend on us. We are all Presidents (and CEOs) of our own lives. We are all juggling multiple initiatives every single day – from working at your 9 to 5, to putting food on the table, to investing in your kids, to giving back to your community.
Think long and hard about the things that you want to work on. What you want to be. The skills that you’d like to acquire. The friends and family that you’d like to have by your side. The job you want to have. The team you’d like to build. The life you want to live. All these ideas and choices will lead to decisions for you. They will help you develop that muscle of proactivity, which can help you lead yourself in this diverse and beautiful life.
We all have what it takes to be Presidents and leaders. At the end of the day, we are leading ourselves. Not all of us will become Presidents of nations or multi-billion-dollar corporations. But we also have stakeholders that depend on us. We also need to have a sense of responsibility for our families and for our communities.
I know that when I was growing up, I didn’t have a care in the world as a kid. Now, as an older human being, I do feel a greater sense of responsibility towards taking care of my parents, my friends, and my community at large. I think these responsibilities are a privilege to have as you grow older. Because you are now a fully functioning member of society. And it’s an honor to be able to contribute in every little way you can.
So, even though that I’m not a President of the USA, I’m still the President of my own life. I’m the CEO of me, myself, and I. And I make decisions that will hopefully lead to my well-being and the well-being of my community. I think it’s important that we all see ourselves as active decision makers – regardless of whether we’re leading the most powerful nation on Earth or just a small family business.
We are all leaders. We are all Presidents. We are all decision makers in every sense of the word.